Galina Mikhalishina /

March 24, 2012; Source: New York Times

Contrary to public knowledge, Congress does have a jobs program underway—for its own family members. A new report from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) details how the family members of more than half of Congress are benefitting from ties with their lawmaker relatives, including 82 House members who paid a total of 117 family members to work in their Congressional offices, campaign committees, and political action fund organizations. Congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul is paying the largest number of family members (six). Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) appears to be paying the most; Lewis paid his wife $512, 293 during both the 2008 and 2010 election cycles to work in his congressional office as his administrative assistant. But don’t think that this is an attack on a bunch of Republicans by a Democratic-leading watchdog. CREW also notes that Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) paid $$622,574 to his girlfriend and Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) paid her daughter and grandson a combined total of $495,650; Waters’ grandson was paid for work as her congressional chief of staff.

Indeed, CREW lets the data lead wherever it does, which is ultimately to a picture of members of Congress from both political parties that are making their relatives gainfully employed, and comfortably compensated:

· 82 members (40 Democrats and 42 Republicans) paid family members through their congressional offices, campaign committees and political action committees (PACs).

· 90 members